Corporate Manslaughter Act: how technology can help in business travel

The Corporate Manslaughter Act has caused a lot of organisations to review how well they are managing their duty of care towards their employees. One area they are looking at again is business travel.

Matthew Judge, managing director of travel security company the Anvil Group, said: “There is a great increase in company travel to emerging markets such as India, China, Pakistan, Oman and Dubai, and companies need to ensure they have carried out adequate risk assessments and that their travel safety policies are being managed.”

Anvil’s Employee Travel Monitoring System works by consolidating the travel reservations of all employees into one database. Should there be an incident, an employer can find out how many employees are in the area at that moment. They can then be contacted through the system by email or SMS.

“It can also be tailored for specific corporate travel policies, so employers are alerted if staff book travel to specific destinations or the number of employees on one flight exceeds company guidelines,” adds Judge, who said users of the system can also access the latest travel reports and security updates.

Crisis management is also an area companies are focused on and contingency planning is something operator Thomas Cook takes seriously. For the past four years it has worked with a business continuity specialist to ensure employees can be notified immediately in the event of a crisis – such as a hotel fire, airline accident or natural disaster.

Thomas Cook director Bob Boyce explained: “We used to rely on a manual cascade phone system to notify a team of people quickly. The duty office would call six people and each of them would call another six, and so on – but this system soon breaks down if people can’t be contacted.”

Now Thomas Cook uses technology developed by a company called F24 that automatically sends  a message – by text, mobile or landline – to however many people it is decided should be alerted, be it the emergency team, groups of directors responsible for leading operations, or the PR and communications team.

“We currently have between 500 and 600 names on the system and speed is the key. We haven’t had to use it in a real situation but we make test calls and know we can contact people almost immediately should we need to,” added Boyce.

F24 is also developing an automated conference call system with a view to allowing managers working remotely to be in a conference call within minutes of an incident.

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